Gauteng MEC for Public Transport and Roads Infrastructure, Jacob Mamabolo, has emphasized the importance of government investing in new technologies and innovative solutions that will save lives on the roads and place the province on a positive growth trajectory.
"As the core of the national road network leading to neighbouring countries, international airports and harbours, Gauteng plays an integral role in the transport value chain. Therefore, it is imperative that government works with transport industry experts and academics to leverage on smart technology, ideas and solutions to improve road safety," the MEC said.
He was addressing the 3rd Technology and Innovation Conference (TIC) hosted by the University of Pretoria on Wednesday.
"Furthermore, transport gives us an opportunity to build a new economy. I anticipate that in the next few years, the transport economy should be the leading economic indicator for the province. This can be achieved through ongoing research and innovation in the transport industry that will provide us with important data to build new industries and create jobs," Mamabolo said.
The MEC called for the establishment of a roundtable discussion to explore best solutions and ideas to curb road accidents.
"Driver behaviour and conduct remain a major contributor to most road accidents. We need to find innovative solutions that will reduce human involvement that leads to carnages.
"In an era of the 4th Industrial Revolution, it should be possible to develop smart technology systems to automate the driver testing process at our licensing centres," he said.
The MEC said smart transport solutions are key drivers towards improving the transport network.
"Ongoing engagements with various stakeholders are key to achieving our goals. We welcome engagements like this one as they provide a platform for all players to share ideas on smart solutions to assist the industry become more successful," he said.
He encouraged delegates to value the importance of data collection.
"Data is one of the most important aspects that can be used to be innovative and creative in finding new solutions to some of the transport industry challenges we face.
"Information is critical if we are to keep up with the latest trends in innovation and technology not only for the current generation but for posterity," the MEC said.
The conference was attended by technology experts, innovators and decision-makers from the public and private sector who discussed various developments and shared ideas around digital and technological innovation.